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Goal 4: Improved Communication Access / Stronger Regional Advisory Committees

From 2014 to 2019, together we:

Supported and strengthened the capacity of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) Regional Service Centers to serve individuals who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

How did we do this? We:

  • Passed legislation that required a new study of DHHSD's services and community needs; the last study had been done in 1978. Ensured that the study was accessible and that outreach was extensive. 
  • Passed legislation that modernized DHHSD, increased their funding, got language in the law so that DHHSD could have a standalone website, and dedicated funding for technology that will enhance online and virtual interaction. 

Ensured that the Telecommunication Equipment Distribution Program responds to the current communication access needs of Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

How did we do this? We:

  • Passed legislation that required and funded a study with recommendations on how to modernize the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program. 
  • Passed legislation that allows the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program to update its services and follow the recommendations in the report. 

Continued to work with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) to monitor and improve communication access for travelers who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

How did we do this? We:

  • Successfully advocated for the creation of the Travelers with Disabilities Advisory Committee (TDAC) and nominated a deaf individual as the chair. The airport has taken the recommendations and made it one of the most accessible airports in the country.
  • Successfully advocated for people who are deaf to participate in the airport's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated plane crash training exercise so that emergency responders get experience in working with survivors with disabilities in 2014 and 2018. 
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